Review - "His Hero" Anthology
"Uniform Desires" by Simone Anderson
Marine Corp sniper Cade Donovan is home on leave, visiting his family. The out and proud Marine can tolerate many things, but not bullying. Especially when it's a smaller man being ganged up on outside a bar. Turns out it's Jason Carlson, the younger brother of a bully who tormented kids in the town.
After coming to Jason's rescue, he is immediately attracted to the handsome young man, and makes his feelings know. Hopes they will be returned.
As the two young men grow closer, will Jason's brother and his terrible past come between the pair? Or will Cade's posting back to the Middle East stop what may be a happily ever after?
This is a nicely told tale, with strong characters and a wonderful sense of integrity showing through. The theme "Hero" shines here, and Ms. Anderson has a nice feel for simplicity and straightforward storytelling. I was touched with the feeling Cade showed for Jason, and how it was touching without being smaltzy.
"A Ring and A Promise" by Devon Rhodes
Military Academy graduates Cary Barrientos and Owen Marsh managed to forge a relationship, of sorts, prior to graduation. But the pressures of Cary entering the Navy and Owen the Marines make any sort of future unsure at best. As a last ditch measure at holding onto the man he's come to love, Cary switches their Academy rings.
Is there a future for the young men? Or will the pressure of DADT keep them from being happy?
Ms. Rhodes crafted a lovely tale here, with honest emotion running through both men. The pressures of military life threaten the two, and the fine line between duty, honor and commitments of the heart is explored very well. I was moved that the story did not resolve in a day, and that the characters had to work to ensure their happy ending. Very well done.
"Only Sam" by Em Woods
When Dylan Brooks' restaurant goes up in flames, firefighter Sam Carter is there to help put the blaze out. Turns out he's been visiting it for months, and has a 'thing' for Dylan.
The two begin to see each other in the aftermath of the fire, and get close. But will their lives be in danger after it's determined the fire was deliberately set, and the arsonist isn't finished?
This tale was done nicely. Ms. Woods told a complete story with an economy of words, and made me care about Dylan first and foremost. The two men fit together well from the start, and the tension only adds to the story. Sam is a great character; I'd love to read more about these guys.
"Zane's Inferno" by Sara York
Firefighter Zane Wilson was trapped in a fire, and treated on the scene by paramedic Nick Dubois. Then, he's kissed crazy by him in the locker room. He didn't even know the man noticed him!
The two are soon dating, then living together. But when it's Nick who's trapped in a forest fire, will the two find their happiness is short lived?
This is a great story of two men who hit it off immediately and go full steam ahead! Ms. York dove right in with them and took us right along with them as they fall into love and passion. A nicely told story of two men who 'get' each other and know what they want.
"In the Name of the Law" by Sue Holston
Baltimore Detective Mitch Dawson is in love with his partner, Ivan Stanislav. The problem? Ivan is straight, and engaged to be married. After his fiance dumps him and he goes on a drunken bender, Ivan has an encounter with Mitch that never gets mentioned. Maybe Ivan doesn't remember it, Mitch figures.
But when Ivan is shot and nearly dies, will it be too late for Mitch to tell him how he feels? Or will he chicken out one more time?
Probably my favorite of the stories. Ms. Holston gives us a hard premise - one secret crush and one straight man. So many things could have gone wrong here, but her strong hand kept the story moving, believable, and interesting. Mitch is Everyman, but a hero too. Bravo!
"Wings of Fire" by Kit Sands
Trapped upside down in his wrecked car, Jamie Peele thinks he sees and angel coming for him. Only later, when he goes to the fire station to thank his rescuers does he find out his angel is just that - Salvatore Angelico.
Will he find true happiness? Or once more be left with a broken heart?
A truly sweet tale of a man with a past, who meets the man of his dreams. Nicely told by Ms. Sands, sentimental and just plain good. Strong men, stronger attraction. I wanted to know these guys.
Overall, a very strong anthology. I would be proud to know any one of these heroes!